Favorite

Films in bloom 

LR, Ozark film festivals highlight in spring.

'UNDERWORLD': Alloy Orchestra will perform a live score to Josef von Sternberg's silent classic.
  • 'UNDERWORLD': Alloy Orchestra will perform a live score to Josef von Sternberg's silent classic.

Though young men's fancy may turn to thoughts of love in the springtime, if you're a film geek in Arkansas, chances are the green returning to the world gets you itching to have a film festival pass around your neck. We're blessed to have seen the rise of an honest-to-goodness film culture in Arkansas in the past decade, with most of it coalescing like a spring raindrop around several very good homegrown film festivals. The Ozark Foothills FilmFest, scheduled for April 3-7 in Batesville, and the Little Rock Film Festival, set for May 14-19, are the crown jewels of spring film in the state, and both have exciting offerings for 2013.

Craig Renaud, one of the founders and executive director of the Little Rock Film Festival, said that this will be a momentous year for the LRFF, with the opening of a new theater space in the River Market (though not in time for the festival) and the announcement of another large cash prize to help lure in excellent independent film.

The 325-seat Arcade Theater, which is scheduled to open in November at the corner of President Clinton and River Market Avenue, will be a permanent home for the festival, and will help the LRFF meet what Renaud called "our dream of being a fully-pedestrian festival." The LRFF plans to relocate its offices to the building as well.

"As soon as that happens," Renaud said, "it's really going to be a game-changer for us. All of a sudden, we're going to have year-round programming in a beautiful theater that we'll be able to call home. There's not many festivals nationwide that have their own designated theater downtown. That's really going to help us."

Renaud said that one of the things that has helped grow the festival in recent years — along with a dedication to flying in filmmakers to appear with their work and great local support — has been the $10,000 Oxford American Award for Best Southern Film. Renaud said the prize was instrumental in getting the eventual Oscar nominee "Beasts of the Southern Wild" to play at the LRFF last year. Renaud said another annual cash award equal to the OA prize is soon to be announced, but couldn't give more details than that at press time.

Renaud credits a programming team composed of filmmakers for picking excellent films before they garnered national and international buzz. "It's great for us to be able to say we saw those before they became big," he said. "That happened with 'Winter's Bone.' That happened with 'Restrepo,' before anybody ever really knew about that film. 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' already had a buzz, but we were able to bring it to the festival to show it. Our team of programmers are all filmmakers and film people. I think that helps."

"The Female Face of Indie Film" is the theme of the Ozark Foothills FilmFest, now in its 12th year. Several women filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their projects and 17 films by women will be on the schedule.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 6, there will be a panel discussion at Lyon College featuring women filmmakers, including Kris Swanberg ("Empire Builder"), Sarah Ledbetter ("The Romance of Loneliness"), Kate Siegenthaler (whose documentary "No Trespassing" is about her career as a social worker serving troubled families in some of the same rural Missouri communities where "Winter's Bone" is set), Arkansas filmmaker Juli Jackson ("45RPM") and Martha Stephens, whose film "Pilgrim Song" won the $10,000 Oxford American Award at the 2012 Little Rock Film Festival.

The festival will officially open on Wednesday, April 3, with the highlight of the day being a 7 p.m. double bill of the 1937 romantic comedy "Topper" and the 1936 short "Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad," the first color cartoon. The screening will serve as the centerpiece of a salute to the newly restored Landers Theater on Main Street in Batesville. Purchased and renovated by a local church, the theater's classic neon marquee is in the process of being restored now, and should be ready to shine again by opening night.

Another big get for the festival this year is the silent 1927 Josef von Sternberg film "Underworld." Considered the original gangster film by many film historians, "Underworld" won the Oscar for "Best Story" at the first Academy Awards. Joining the film live in the theater will be Alloy Orchestra, made up of three Boston musicians who tour the world with silent films performing original musical scores and providing sound effects using a variety of found objects. "Underworld" will mark the fourth time Alloy has performed with silent films at the OFFF, with its last appearance with "Metropolis" in 2011. Worth noting for indie music fans: Mission of Burma's Roger Miller is a co-founding member of Alloy Orchestra.

"They've been doing this for about 20 years," said Ozark Foothills director Bob Pest. "They've been called the best in the world at accompanying silent film."

"Underworld" screens at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5, in Independence Hall on the UA Community College-Batesville campus. Admission is $12.

Favorite

Speaking of...

  • What happened to the Little Rock Film Festival?

    October 1, 2015
    In a short note posted on their website Wednesday morning, the Little Rock Film Festival announced that they would be closing down. The development took many by surprise — World Shorts curator Justin Nickels told the Times he had learned of the decision 12 hours earlier. The Times spoke to festival founders Brent and Craig Renaud today, who explained the move had been under consideration for at least a year and was the result of new projects and time commitments which would prevent both filmmakers from giving the festival the attention it deserved. /more/
  • Little Rock Film Festival comes to an end

    September 30, 2015
    Sad news for film fans: The Little Rock Film Festival is over. /more/
  • Film for the people

    May 14, 2015
    The Little Rock Film Festival returns for year nine with a new director. /more/
  • Renaud brothers win Peabody for 'Last Chance High'

    April 20, 2015
    Little Rock filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud have won a Peabody Award for "Last Chance High," their eight-part series for Vice News online. /more/
  • Ozark Foothills FilmFest announces 2015 lineup

    March 13, 2015
    The Ozark Foothills FilmFest, held at Independence Hall on the campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, has announced the lineup for its 2015 festival, which is scheduled for April 3-11. 28 features, documentaries and shorts have been confirmed for the event, including "Northern Borders," starring Bruce Dern, "The Frontier," "Stomping Ground" (billed as “a scary relationship comedy about love and Bigfoot hunting"), "Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound" and "Misfire: The Rise and Fall of The Shooting Gallery," a crowd-funded documentary about the production company behind "Stand By Me" and "Sling Blade." /more/
  • A new home for the Little Rock Film Festival

    May 15, 2014
    The Ron Robinson Theater is a dream come true. /more/
  • The Renaud Brothers team up with VICE for 'Last Chance High'

    April 8, 2014
    Little Rock filmmakers (and film festival proprietors) Craig and Brent Renaud have a new project out this month through Vice News. "Last Chance High" focuses on the Moses Montefiore Academy in Chicago's West Side (the only therapeutic school in the Chicago public school system) and follows its students, deemed 'at-risk' for extreme behavioral or emotional disorders. The first episode was released last week, to be followed by seven more every Friday this month and next. /more/
  • The Ozark Foothills FilmFest announces 2014 lineup

    February 26, 2014
    The Ozark Foothills FilmFest, held each Spring in Batesville, has announced its 2014 lineup, which will include a new, free panel and sidebar called "Breaking Through," made possible by a festival grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (only 23 such awards are give out each year). In addition to screenings of narrative and documentary features, shorts and animation (a full list of which can be found on their site), the festival will host visiting filmmakers and offer a screenwriting workshop. /more/
  • Canseco, 'Organ Trade,' Burgess and the Pacers highlight final Hot Springs Doc Fest weekend

    October 19, 2013
    The world premiere of a new documentary about Jose Canseco and an appearance by the former Marjor  /more/
  • Submissions open for LR Film Festival

    October 1, 2013
    The Little Rock Film Festival opened submissions today for the 8th annual installment, set for May 13-18, 2014. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by David Koon

Readers also liked…

  • Casting out demons: why Justin Harris got rid of kids he applied pressure to adopt

    Rep. Justin Harris blames DHS for the fallout related to his adoption of three young girls, but sources familiar with the situation contradict his story and paint a troubling picture of the adoption process and the girls' time in the Harris household.
    • Mar 12, 2015
  • Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel

    In the darkest hour of the AIDS epidemic, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of people whose families had abandoned them. Courage, love and the 30-year secret of one little graveyard in Hot Springs. 
    • Jan 8, 2015
  • The hart

    It is hard for a straight person, The Observer included, to imagine what it would be like to be born gay — to be shipwrecked here on this space-going clod, where nearly every textbook, novel, film and television show, nearly every blaring screen or billboard or magazine ad, reinforces the idea that "normal" means "heterosexual."
    • Feb 26, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Arkansas trauma system takes a hit

    Doctors worry about impact of canceled contract with educational arm, loss of funds.
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • The return of Kaleidoscope

    The LGBT Film Festival kicks off in North Little Rock.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • Seven to watch

    At the Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival.
    • Aug 17, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation